There are many videos on youtube in which permanent magnets are used to make a motor. Although it might be possible in an ideal environment (e.g. no friction). As these devices are rotating continously means that they are producing energy to overcome friction and other energy losses.

Is it really possible to produce energy only using permanent magnets (without using other energy source other than initial force as shown in videos)

Some videos:

  1. Free Energy Magnet Motor (Engine)
  2. Xpenzif free energy screw magnet motor
  3. Steorn concept Permanent Magnet Moter Test
  4. Free energy 1 magnet disk
  5. Removed video
  6. Screw Magnet Motor
  7. perpetual motion machine selfrunning

  • 12
    Constant motion in an ideal environment is not energy generation.
    – Pieter B
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 8:43
  • If I understand the concept correctly, there are two ways in which that process can be implemented, but, according to Pieter B, "constant motion in an ideal environment is not energy generation." Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 10:38
  • 5
    It is totally possible as long as you don't mind being arrested for breaking the second law of thermodynamics. :-)
    – matt_black
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 12:35
  • 4
    @woodchips If the question were about an open system, he would be asking whether electrical generators existed.
    – matt_black
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 16:48
  • 1
    Sorry Woodchips. I guess I thought we shouldn't make assumptions about what is or isn't obvious when responding to a question about perpetual motion. As for taking 5 months to respond, just call me a slow reader!
    – Mark
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia explains:

There is a scientific consensus that perpetual motion in an isolated system violates either the first law of thermodynamics, the second law of thermodynamics, or both.

There is a long history of different types of failed perpetual motion machines - enough for books to be written.

Kevin Kilty has written a more readable discussion on the types of perpetual motion machine, and provides a categorisation of the types of false claims that they make.

A very quick review of the list of videos, and we are able to categorise them.

  1. Free Energy Magnet Motor (Engine): Category 5 = Fraud

    The claim is that the electromagnets in a simple electric motor were replaced by permanent magnets, requiring no external power.

    It only takes primary-school science to understand this is a fake. Electric motors require the polarity of the magnetism to change as the axle turns. A permanent magnet would simple freeze the axle in place.

    I speculate a hidden battery, although I also considered an electromagnet hidden behind the carpet.

  2. Xpenzif free energy screw magnet motor: Category 6 - Perpetually Out Of Balance

    This design will not work. The magnets will not pull the next screw-head forward, as it would be dragged back by the other magnet closest to a screw-head.

    The video shown would be easily faked, as the base of the axle was not shown.

  3. Steorn concept Permanent Magnet Moter Test: Category 8 - Machines without losses or friction

    Only a prototype, which was not an isolated system, was shown. The device is manually powered.

    This design will not work. What is shown is a prototype where the builder is underestimating how much energy he is putting into the system. The system will not generate enough energy (due to friction and conversion loss) to continually power itself when he eventually does close the cycle.

  4. Free energy 1 magnet disk

    There is insufficient detail shown to understand what the claim is here.

  5. Removed video

  6. Screw Magnet Motor - Already covered under #2 above.

  7. perpetual motion machine selfrunning: Category 4: Long running machine?

    There isn't enough detail here to be sure, but it looks like merely a long running machine, that will eventually wind down. Note that it makes a considerable noise, so it fails to be a machine "without losses or friction" - the sound energy being lost is evidence of that.

  • 1
    I was very interested in last device because it was very similar to the device that I made in my mind. If it is moving continuously and producing sound as well then it is producing energy. Although you have answered in detail, I am collecting magnets to do my own experiments and understand the flaws. Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 18:28
  • claps - well done Oddthinking!
    – Drew
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 6:40
  • My father have two washer-shaped magnets inserted in a vertical rod, the support base of the rod is also a magnet and it's flat. They are put in a way that magnets repel each other. Well, the two magnets at the top have been levitating for years. Isn't there a source of energy there preventing the magnets to fall for years without being exhausted? Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 15:57
  • @user1598390: Nope. There isn't. This is high school physics. No work is being done. No energy is being used up (converted). That's not a machine.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 16:21
  • 1
    @user1598390: No, by definition.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 22:27

The old dream of a Perpetual motion, will never come true.


A more obscure category is a perpetual motion machine of the third kind, usually (but not always)[5] defined as one that completely eliminates friction and other dissipative forces, to maintain motion forever (due to its mass inertia). Third in this case refers solely to the position in the above classification scheme, not the third law of thermodynamics. Although it is impossible to make such a machine,[6][7] as dissipation can never be 100% eliminated in a mechanical system, it is nevertheless possible to get very close to this ideal (see examples in the Low Friction section). Such a machine would not serve as a source of energy but would have utility as a perpetual energy storage device.

Use of the term "impossible" and perpetual motion The seemingly mysterious ability of magnets to influence motion at a distance without any apparent energy source has long appealed to inventors. One of the earliest examples of a magnetic motor was proposed by Wilkins and has been widely copied since: it consists of a ramp with a magnet at the top, which pulled a metal ball up the ramp. Near the magnet was a small hole that was supposed to allow the ball to drop under the ramp and return to the bottom, where a flap allowed it to return to the top again. The device simply could not work: any magnet strong enough to pull the ball up the ramp would necessarily be too powerful to allow it to drop through the hole. Faced with this problem, more modern versions typically use a series of ramps and magnets, positioned so the ball is to be handed off from one magnet to another as it moves. The problem remains the same.

  • Never is a pretty long timespan ;) ... still +1 and greetings to all Delphians out there g Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 22:11

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